Vladimir Putin, the absent leader at the Johannesburg summit, wants to champion a “global majority” gathered around the BRICS. “We cooperate on the principles of equality and respect for each other’s interests, and this is the essence of our association’s future-oriented strategic course, a course that responds to the aspirations of the majority of the world community, the so-called global majority,” the Russian president said by videoconference, announcing that the de-dollarization process in transactions between the BRICS countries is irreversible and was willing to replace Ukrainian grain exports that his country is blocking.
Putin’s absence in Johannesburg stems from an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court that put summit host South Africa in a difficult situation and ultimately caused Putin to stay home.
In the capital of South Africa there were leaders such as the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa; the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping; the brazilian president, Luiz Lula da Silva; and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Putin is a staunch supporter of what he calls a “multipolar world order,” promoting structures like the BRICS as a counterweight to US- and Western-led institutions. The members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) represent more than 40% of the world population.
The Russian president did not refer to his criminal situation. But he admitted that the BRICS countries have to face difficult challenges in a context of market volatility and inflationary pressures due to the “irresponsible” actions of a number of countries. Russia is struggling these days for stem the fall of your currencywhich yesterday weakened again to 94 rubles per dollar.
The Russian regime was represented in the room by the Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov. It was the safest format for Putin and the most comfortable for the hosts. After several weeks of tensions and denials, last month Ramaphosa’s office announced that Putin would not attend “by mutual agreement”, the Russian leader told reporters that he did not believe that his presence in the BRICS was “more important than my presence in Russia now.”